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26.02.2021 Opinion

The Fight On Our Hands

By John Mensah Quaye
The Fight On Our Hands
LISTEN FEB 26, 2021

As the world comes to terms with the COVID-19 menace, various solutions have been proffered by knowledgeable individuals on how best to combat this dreadful disease. Ghana took our feet off the pedal and allowed for more infections probably as a result of the political season and the yuletide. The COVID-19 has taught the world that things which ought to be done must be done in haste.

The disease seems to be a step ahead of the world and as we try hard to arrest it, we must work our socks out to enable us catch up. Procrastination should not be tolerated.

I decided to transact business in one of the banks in the business centre of Accra. When I got in there, I realized that the whole banking floor was manned by about seven people. “What could this mean?” I soliloquized. The whole banking hall seemed deserted not only by the customers but by the staff as well.

I turned to a staff to find out about a friend I had made from my numerous visits to that bank. The silence was deafening. I repeated the question again. To my surprise, my dear friend had also succumbed to the deadly disease. So this COVID-19 is real. I realized that the deadly disease was closer than I thought.

As I walked back to my office in Adabraka, I realized the enormous task ahead of Ghana. The fight is no joke. All must roll up their sleeves because this disease is threatening the very existence of the human race on this planet.

The market women had displayed their wares on the shoulders of the road. They were chatting heartily and briskly selling but of those that I saw, only 1% had their masks on. The rest were either not wearing it or wrongly wearing it.

If this disease is really transmitted through human droplets (I have no reason to doubt it) then Ghana is in serious trouble. The women and men alike are courting the friendship of this deadly virus without knowing what they are doing. They will bring this 'unwelcome visitor' home and someone will succumb to it.

Our grandfathers are our institutional memories. All the important delicacies recipes are in the bosom of our grandmothers. The young men and women we see on the streets are the real resources of the nation. Our boys and girls are our future. Which of these do you exchange with COVID-19. Absolute none!

The government must be up and doing. Strict adherence to all the protocols must be observed. The President has a duty to perform and so are his ministers. Posterity will never forgive them if they fail to curb this menace. Enough political point was scored previously, but it is now time to work. Law enforcement officers must be deployed in the country and especially in the capital.

Leadership must crack the whip and a special court must be set up to deal with those who flout the COVID-19 protocols.

Secondly, religious leaders must not shy away from educating their members on each opportunity. The citizenry have trust in faith-based institutions and this must be exploited to the fullest. Faith-based leaders must prepare sermons around this menace and explain to members why these protocols must be upheld. This must be continuous and persistent.

Recent discussions indicate that the COVID-19 fester more in enclosed offices and there is the need to depopulate office buildings, especially the enclosed ones. The shift system must be employed to the fullest. The Ministry of Employment or the COVID-19 taskforce must ensure that these shift systems in organisations work. 568 deaths (as at February 18, 2021) is enough warning that this menace will not be a pushover.

Food vendors must be forced to take COVID-19 test every week and show it as a proof. The GES must ensure that both public and private schools have put in place all the needed protocols so that students are not infected. COVID-19 education to these schools periodically will be welcome news.

Ghana is currently fighting corruption, galamsey, bad leadership at various levels of society and many others. These fights must be won at all costs but the biggest of them all, is the COVID-19 fight. Economic and socio-political gains made over the years would amount to nothing if this fight is lost. Let us stand on top of the roof and proclaim it aloud.

Let no one sit on the fence because it will take collective effort to do this. Talk to your brother, whisper to your sister, and say it to a friend. Drum it down to your town folks that COVID-19 is real and it is at your door post. The fight on our hand is enormous but we shall overcome.

By John Mensah Quaye